Sports can be the great bridge.
As the 2018 Winter Olympics opens, the LovePrints motto “Loving and Learning through sports” comes to mind. Sports has always been a bridge for the rest of society. It allows for opponents to get to know one another, share similarities, and grow together after competition. They get to go outside of their comfort zones, meet a diverse group of people, learn about different cultures, and become more socially aware of people from other places. Sports has always had that power. The power to connect.
Sports is a bridge, a teacher, a healer, and a leader. It connects people who normally rival one another. It uncovers the common bond of preparation, ambition, and desire. Of all of the things that athletes respect, it is the work required to excel. It is the knowledge that their rival has done as much as they have, or more. They know what their rivals have sacrificed, and they know what they gave up to have success.
Sports brings to light the simple idea that aside from all other things, it can be fair. It can be the thing that helps us talk more and hate less. It can be the reason we work, the reason we excel, and the reason we improve. Sports can also be the light. It shines on the good and bad, the happy and sad, the great and the greatest. It can be the mirror to society, and the way to pull us all together.
The Olympic motto is the hendriatis “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” Faster, Stronger, Higher. It calls for us to understand that the most important thing is not to win, but to participate. Some speak ill of participation as a goal. Participation is the line of steps required to win or lose. I am a fan of participation. It requires one more step forward into greater that others may not take. From there, faster, stronger, and higher can be constant fuel for us all.
The Olympic spirit and its five rings symbolizes the five continents and all its people. It holds its six colors of inclusion, considering each of the flags of all countries, and the populations that play under and for them. It crosses borders, boundaries, and stereotypes. It allows the simple concept that the best athlete on that day, at that moment, is celebrated. It allows that we all see the best in them, and ourselves. They become the standard. They become what we aspire to, dream of, and applaud.
As I watched rival countries sit near one another, and fiercely competitive athletes eye those athletes who stand in the way of their own individual moments of greatness, it becomes clear that sports has pulled opposites together. Sports got them to the games. And hopefully, the games will provide a bridge for familiarity and consideration. If we can sit together, maybe we can talk to one another. If we can play together, we share something worth talking about.
Here’s to the 2018 Winter Olympics. May it show us our best reflection. May the games bring us closer together, like the Miracle on Ice. May the strangers become friends. May the lessons of humanity be taught and learned, while we gain the ability to care about the people playing the game.
At the open of the ceremony, the broadcast led with this quote. “..always start with dreams, the best stories always begin there.” Sports is the bridge from dream to reality. It connects them. It waits patiently for the crossing. Loving and learning. Thank you, sports.
We are the Ones.
We are the ones to inspire our generation and stand for the idea of opportunity for everyone. I am My Brother’s Keeper, are you? Join the Alliance at iammbk.org.
Great people make great friends. Great friends make great people.
Love in Action. Action in love.
Love Out Loud.
A LovePrint is the constant covering of your world in love. One act at a time. Repeat. In the consistency is where the real value lives. It comes in the form of faith, strength, vision, hope, passion, and faith. Every once in a while, it comes in one person. One amazing person.
I met MISTER Griffin several decades, careers, life choices, and locations ago. What I knew the very first night that I met him was that he was larger than life. Not in the typical sense, but in the depth sense. There was all of the energy, coming in and going out. There was the larger than life smile. There was the wisdom glow in his eyes. And, there was the voice. That GRIFF voice! If you have not heard it, imagine gravel , cement, and brown sugar crushed up and covered with Hershey’s chocolate. It is the same, ALL OF THE TIME! It has no volume switch, and no decibel counter. It is pure BOOM!
To go with that voice is the laugh. This heavy metal speaker loud bass pounding drum kick of a laugh. Again, no volume adjustment available on this model. It is loud and room changing. It dominates the space that it is in, and changes whatever is in its path or was there before it. It is a wrecking ball of love, breaking down barriers and boundaries, changing whatever it touches and leaving it better than before. Different, and better.
We met at a comedy show in Washington, DC back in the 90’s. I was there to see Henry Cho, who I had played golf with the week before. And there was GRIFF, grinding a room of strangers into friends and family. He left the room crushed and full at the same time. I was aware immediately that he was bigger than the room, and that was why it could not contain him. He was not comfortable in its smallness. He needed to be in a bigger place. A bigger space. I told him so. Out loud.
We talked and went to see the city. I told him the he was going to be bigger than his dreams. It was all over him. It was everywhere. He could not hide it.
We crossed paths again at a small bar in Arlington, Virginia. A rock bar with bands playing around him. He made it his living room. It belonged to him. Later, we met in Atlanta, Salt Lake City, and Dallas. He did radio with me in Utah, I did radio with him wherever he was, and we both ended up in Texas within months of each other recently. We meet up and hug, laugh, and love.
Whenever I stop and think of sports, I have him as a constant reminder of the love of the games. The real reason why any of it matters. Love. Whenever I think of faith, he is there with the light from within and the light behind him shining down. He once made a video to send me before a recent surgery. It was right on time. It was perfect. It was GRIFF. A phone call from him made the rain go away. I kid you not. And, he shows up like very few choose to.
He is a constant roar of faith in my ear. He is the consistent forward and up. I look and see where he is, I remember where he has been, and smile and whatever is coming next for him. I see the stars in orbit, the real understanding of his humor, the real power behind his comedy, and the real depth of his faith. What I also see is his ability to change the space, for the good. That is why he is here. That is why he is GRIFF.
No matter if its sports, parenting, radio, faith, or stand up, he is LOVE OUT LOUD HUGE. He is the living example of the road we should always take. The forward and up.
We are blessed enough to be covered in his love. He is my friend, my brother, and a faith yeller. He changes the line, moves the boundary, and loves out loud.
Yeah. I just said that. He loves out loud. Everything. God, us, and himself.
Thank you. For every single day. Every single time. You.
Important franchise plays.
In the 80 + years that Washington has had an NFL team, there have been legends born, history made, and championships won. I will try to select ten plays that stand out above the rest. Ten plays that left larger imprints on the franchise than any of the others. Ten plays that jump immediately to mind, and warm the heart of Redskins Nation. In some cases, the fan can see the play, hear the play, and tell you where they were when it happened. These are not the most memorable plays, because I am limiting them to games that were big games won. I will include some of those plays in the top ten most memorable plays in Redskins history. Due to their importance, only one play from any one game. (I am only including plays from my lifetime)
Let’s start with those plays that were important, and memorable, but just missed the top ten.
Joe Washington TD pass from Joe Theismann vs Oakland Raiders
Sean Taylor fumble return TD vs Tampa.
Joe Theismann block vs Giants on Joe Washington td run.
Mark Brunell TD pass to Santana Moss Monday Night Football.
Clinton Portis td run on first carry as Redskin vs Tampa.
Robert Griffin III TD run vs Vikings
Alfred Morris TD run vs Dallas SNF
Sean Taylor fumble recovery vs Dallas FG’
Darrell Green chases down Dickerson
Darrell Green pass deflection vs Vikings
Gerald Riggs TD vs Falcons (Seat cushion game)
Reed TD vs Eagles from Cousins
A reminder: One per game. Must be from a win. I tried to keep the top ten to one play per player.
8, Alvin Garrett TD from Theismann (Fun Bunch) Playoff win vs Lions and the birth of a movement.
5. Ken Houston tackle of Walt Garrison vs Dallas MNF. A late night in DC, and Houston sweeps Garrett off his feet at the goal line.
1 Riggins TD run vs Dolphins Superbowl. Riggonomics was born. Walker. Didier. Wonsley join the Hogs and lead the way to glory.
Action in Love. Love in Action.
Quietly, a group of coaches, pro athletes, former pro and college athletes, pastors, parents, college and pro equipment managers, and good people, we pulled off something small, but really cool. One text led to another, and a phone call, and several shipments.
As of today, some 500 pairs of new tennis shoes and basketball shoes were sent to schools, teams, and churches in Texas and Florida to areas flooded and torn up by recent storms. Young people who lo…st everything received the shoes at no cost to them, and hopefully we are helping some of them with something to wear to school, or shoes to play or train in as basketball season nears.
We did this anonymously, but we’re able to get them into trustworthy hands to deliver to those in need.
We also added 200 pairs of once or twice worn shoes, so 700 smiles were accounted for.
Thank you for those of you who helped make these smiles happen.
Action in love. Love in action.
Love in action. Action in love.
Love out loud.
Life is constantly adding to, giving to, and showing us what is for us.
There are people placed purposefully and specifically in our lives to add to. When God leans in your direction, jump in his hand and enjoy his grace.
I met Dr. John Butler many years ago while taping a Redskins Magazine Plus television show. John is the voice behind its theme song, and one day sat down on the set to add some of his amazing spirit to that week’s show. Tony McGee and Doc Walker smiled so fully that I knew something good was in store. I was stunned. How was this not in my life already? I knew the theme song, I just did not know who it came from, and where he came from. I was going to learn tonight!
Fast forward ten years later, and we were sill friends. We talked life, faith, and football. We talked families and communities and chances. I don’t know if you have ever been in the presence of true good. I always wanted to be better around him. I wanted to DO better around him.
When I was blessed enough with a life’s love who chose to spend the rest of her life with me, I thought of who to invite, and at the top of the list was John. I asked him if he would sing at the ceremony. I asked, and he said yes. He did what John does, he ADDED TO. He introduced me to Charles and Cynthia Williams, who added to. (Thank you!) These two amazing souls walked into our lives and added to. On our special day, they made everything perfect. PERFECT. The Nationals Park in Washington, DC let us use it as the place, and when the ceremony began, John sang. HE SANG! Charles led us through the ceremony and it was PERFECT!
Two years later, life had a gut punch in store for us. My mother passed away, and I was spinning. My head and spirit were cloudy. Enter Dr. Butler. He offered to show up at mom’s service. HE SHOWED UP! He gave a church of mourners his voice, his strength, his faith, and his word.
Life moved again, and took my family to Houston. Even in distance, John is present! He is constantly in motion for good, always a strong board of support, and a vacuum of good. This man of God is consistently in place and prepared with purpose.
This Man of God, New Orleans Saints fan, and friend has been there for me. I just wanted to thank him for his LovePrints on me and my life.
At my lowest, you picked me up. At my strongest, you shined the light. Every day, you love.
You action in love, and you action in love.
Great people make great coaches. Great coaches make great people.
Love in Action. Action in love.
A loveprint is the constant and consist covering of those around you in love. So much so, that nothing else can stick. Nothing else can exist. A vacuum so filled with love that nothing else can occupy it. Acts of kindness, purpose, and love.
I am a combination of many great coaches. Many great people. I have coaching brothers and sisters all over the country. All over the world. No matter where I moved, there was a magnet putting me in the company of great people. It happened when I moved to Texas. Again.
I left Virginia, and behind me was a great collection of people who were family to me. They cared, they mattered, and they had purpose. They loved. Leaving that place created a hole in the fabric. I have heard the phrase “Grow where you are planted”. I try to live with that in mind. God has never put me anywhere I could not grow, or anywhere that I would be alone.
When I got to Texas, I was coming off a coaching high, and wanted to stay active. I found a school with extremely impressive academics, some great coaches and leadership, and a spot for me to coach three sports. I jumped in immediately, and found some new family to work with and alongside.
I tear up just typing this. God continues to put amazing people in my path, for my journey. I seem to find these coaching brothers who understand the right why, the right how, and the right priority. It gave me great strength to know that I was among great people doing great things for great reasons.
There was another multiple sport coach who gave me light. He gave me strength. Someone to trust. Someone to walk with. He was smart, charismatic, strong, Godly, and he had a ridiculous lefty crossover. (the crossover is almost as strong as his faith. ALMOST). He coached with his heart, he was steady with his hand, and his smile made every player trust his word. His actions always matched his word. Vital.
At the end of basketball season, I started having trouble with my back. I leaned on Coach Larkins for support, strength, and he never wavered. At the end of the school year, I had major surgery on my spine. The surgery had complications that put me at risk and in the ICU. My health was under fire, and I was leaning on a strong faith that kept giving me answers. Things took a darker turn, and the hospital feared the worst. I was weakening and wavering as they added procedures that concerned me, and I was in trouble. I was calling out loudly for faith to strengthen me, and I got a visit from Eric at my lowest point. How did he know? He and his amazing wife Jan showed up at the ICU and held my hand, hugged my wife, and prayed with me, for me. I cried. I could not believe that the right persons with the right words and smiles showed up right on time. They gave me the strength to get through the procedures, get out of ICU, and get home. A year later, I am healing, getting strong, and never forgetting.
I do not know what I did to deserve the great people in my life. Eric and Jan and family are constant smiles in my heart. I try to say thank you enough, and they would say “no worries”, but I will try. One of the working orders of LovePrints is “loving and learning through sports”. Well, I am honoring that today.
At least today, you will know how thankful and appreciative of you, your wife, and your faith. I appreciate who you are, what you do, and why. God brought you into my life, sports was the vehicle, and my heart is forever indebted. Thank you for your prayers, your words, and your work.
The young people in your path are blessed indeed. So are the adults. Sometimes the streets are your pulpits. And sometimes, it’s a hospital bed in ICU. Thank you.
Great coaches make great people. Great people make great coaches.
Love in action. Action in love.
Love in action. Action in love. Love Out Loud. Loving and Learning through sports. These are the constants of LovePrints. Make the next thing you touch better than when you found it. Leave the next person you interact with covered in love. This is LovePrints.
The Iowa Hawkeyes have a long tradition when it comes to football. From the players who have gone on to play successfully in the NFL, to big time bowl game appearances, to legendary coaches, Iowa has carved out a wonderful niche in collegiate football. Add to that their most recent tradition. Each person, fan or player, Hawkeyes or opponent, band member or cheerleader, coach or official, everyone in the stadium stands at the end of each first quarter and turns and waves to the Childrens Hospital next to the stadium. In that moment, love will be shared, and it will be my new favorite football tradition. It will be the entirety of Kinnick Stadium, 75,000 people strong, all sharing themselves and their game day with young people. And the young people will share themselves back. What I can tell you is that no matter who they are playing, at the end of the first quarter of their home games, I will be standing and waving with the 75,000 plus at Kinnick.
Here’s to the home game Kid Captains of the Hawkeyes. Here’s to each and every fan at Kinnick. Here’s to us all.
< Waving >